For a while after it opened, Moxy was the hottest restaurant in St. Louis. Open kitchen. TV monitors above the bar flashing famous artworks. Sleek lounge vibe. All the elements were in place for just another mid-2000s flash in the pan. Yet grounding all this was the assured cooking of owner and chef Eric Brenner. Brenner didn't ignore trends of recent years. You'd find short ribs on his menus, chipotle peppers, touches of Asian fusion such as lobster potstickers. But those lobster potstickers were fantastic, the chipotle an inspired touch for oft-boring salmon and the short ribs as tender as a kiss. Brenner's focus was on the food first and foremost, and for all their adornments his dishes were memorable for the respect and attention paid to the main ingredient. Better yet, Brenner served his food at a remarkably good price and kept his kitchen running later than most, which allowed Moxy to make the rare transition from hip newcomer to reliable favorite. And whenever it is a little late, or nothing new is appealing — we just want a good meal, damn it — we'll remember it wistfully but, mostly, fondly.
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